World’s wealthiest woman, whose net worth was estimated at $44 billion, dies at 94

A file picture taken on October 12, 2011 shows French Billionaire L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt leaving the Institut de France in Paris (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal fortune, has died at the age of 94, her family announced this week. The daughter of the French cosmetics company’s founder, Eugene Schueller, Bettencourt’s net worth was valued at around $44 billion, according to Forbes and the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, making her the world’s wealthiest woman. “We all had a deep admiration for Liliane Bettencourt, who always looked after L’Oreal — the company and its employees, and was dedicated to its success and development,” Jean-Paul Agon, current president, of L’Oreal said in a statement. Bettencourt started at the company at the age of 15 and was involved with its daily business until stepping down at the age of 89. Bettencourt was a complex figure. The final years of her life were surrounded by scandal amid the so-called “Bettencourt Affair,” in which her daughter tried to have her mother declared mentally incapable of handling her own affairs. That move came after she learned that Bettencourt was considering adopting a younger man, the photographer François-Marie Banier, to whom she had already lavished with a fortune in valuable artwork, life insurance annuities and an island, The New York Times reported. Banier was eventually found guilty of swindling Bettencourt out of $1.4 billion.

Read the full story at CNN.

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